The Covid-19 pandemic continues to have a major impact on the pharmaceutical space. The global health crisis has emphasised the role of pharmacists as part of the front-line care team and exacerbated long-standing issues like drug shortages, drug recalls and drug diversion.
As pharmacists continue to step up, address these challenges and adjust to the “new normal,” it is important to recognise the tools and technology that can help.
This is according to Kevin MacDonald, a Forbes Councils Member and CEO of Kit Check, a medkit restocking automation and drug diversion detection software for hospitals.
The evolving role of pharmacists
The pandemic has altered the role of the pharmacist and further emphasised their position as an integral part of a patient’s care team. Gone are the days of pharmacists being perceived as just distributors of medication. As front-line medical workers and physicians remain busy and focused on combating Covid-19, pharmacists continue to take an active part in providing counsel, education and support to patients who have concerns about the virus.
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Pharmacies have also shifted operations to best support patients through means like at-home delivery, ensuring that every patient receives the medication and care they need. The pandemic has revealed the need for a holistic, all-encompassing approach to patient care — one that is not possible without the input and expertise of pharmacists. While their role has only expanded in scope amid the pandemic, pharmacists are still combatting surprisingly quotidian challenges like drug shortages, diversion and recalls at an increased rate.
The impact on common challenges faced by pharma
The pharmaceutical industry faces a number of challenges that have been further compounded by the pandemic. For example, the global health crisis has worsened drug shortages, a long-standing obstacle for pharmacists.
The global health crisis is also shedding light on another major concern — mental health strain on frontline workers. Medical professionals are under immense amounts of pressure between caring for patients with Covid-19, keeping track of vital medications and maintaining their own health.
Adjusting to healthcare’s new normal
As medical professionals navigate a changed healthcare landscape and address issues further compounded by the pandemic, it’s important for them to understand and embrace the technology available to ease the transition.
For starters, keeping track of medication inventory throughout the supply chain is more important than ever, particularly to address drug recalls and shortages. RFID technology, combined with cloud-based solutions that monitor the chain of custody from manufacturer to patient, hold a lot of promise — particularly for pharmacists.
AI solutions are also proving to be beneficial when it comes researching and testing possible drug treatments for Covid-19.